Mobile phones make unhappy homes

According to a newly published study being accessible night and day on your mobile phone may not be such a good thing.

Study author Noelle Chesley, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin, suggests that the 24 hour accessibility that cell phones and pagers provide could be adversely affecting people's lives.

Chesley says it may even have a negative effect on family life.

The study tracked as many as 1,300 adults over a 2 year period and found that those who consistently used a mobile phone or pager throughout the period were more likely to report a negative "spillover" between work and home life, which resulted in a less satisfactory family life.

The term spillover indicates that the line between work and home is blurred, and the one may invade the other.

When this happens job-related calls at home, or household issues at work erode both work time and leisure time.

According to Chesley, this may be especially true for working women who are more likely to suffer from such a scenario as cell phones and pagers mean there is even more opportunity for spillover between work and home.

Men who consistently use mobile phones and pagers were more affected by work issues encroaching on to family time, whereas for women, the spillover worked both ways.

In the study the people who reported more negative spillover were less satisfied with their family life.

Chesley believes cell phones and pagers appear to provide more stressful encounters among families than positive ones.

Chesley suggests that employers might review their policies on contacting employees after-hours in order to ensure they are reasonable, while employees themselves should ensure that cell phones and pagers are switched off during family time.

When it comes to on working mothers, she suggests that parents might take turns to be on call for their family while at work.

The study is published in the Journal of Marriage and Family.

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